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Looks like it's almost lights out for the venerable National Press Club. The beleaguered institution, a victim of journalistic temperance, smoking bans and a simple erosion of hard-drinking camaraderie between politicos and the media, announced this week that it was suspending food and beverage services until February 14. By that time, its few remaining patrons will have no doubt moved on to other pastures. In its time, the club has been host to many famous and infamous experiences, notably when former prime minister Pierre Trudeau arrived to haul his wife, Margaret, home and away from the drinking scribes.
The Prime Minister's Office loves to keep the parliamentary press gallery in the loop. Reporters were given about half an hour's notice to be at Rideau Hall on Thursday for the cabinet shuffle, about half that much to get over to Parliament Hill this morning to see Stephen Harper welcome ex-Liberal Wajid Khan to the Tory fold.
Alas, the PMO didn't notify anyone that Harper would appear on TSN this afternoon during the broadcast of the Canada-Russia junior-hockey playoff. Helpfully, however, this notice was sent out at 4:23 p.m. this afternoon. (That's 16:23 in 24-hour-clock talk.)
Date: Jan. 05
Time: 16:00 Approx.
Participant(s): Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Location: Office of the Prime Minister, 307-S, Centre Block, Ottawa.
Subject: Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make a congratulatory phone call to head coach Craig Hartsburg on the victory of the Canadian men's junior hockey team.
It took quite a while for former environment minister Rona Ambrose to emerge from Rideau Hall and face reporters after she was shuffled out of her former portfolio and into the intergovernmental affairs file Thursday. But the driver of her Toyota hybrid car was also left waiting, giving the media a window into Ambrose’s soul.
What did they see? On the floor in the back seat was a Louis Vuitton handbag (which one CBC television reporter swore was the real thing). Tucked in a pouch on the seat in front of her was a book with the intriguing title clearly visible: Crunchy Cons.
The book was written by Rod Dreher, an editor at the Dallas Morning News, and details the counterculture of lefty conservatives who live according to the values of the right, but shop at Whole Foods and embrace the environment.
According to the author, they fall somewhere in the political spectrum between the Republicans and Democrats.
Presumably, Ambrose will be passing the book on to her successor, former Mike Harris minister John Baird, when she is finished, with wishes that he will succeed where she could not.